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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

JVALASIMAGES / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Last Friday, President Trump was asked about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). It’s the program that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain in the country. They're widely known as "DREAMers."

"We love the DREAMers," President Trump said. "We love everybody."

Former Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer was just one of a number of Democrats at Detroit's annual Labor Day parade.
Whitmer for Governor

Detroit’s annual Labor Day parade attracted the usual mix of union members, activists and political candidates this year.

Those candidates included three of the Democrats running for governor.

Former state Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer has lined up most of the big labor support statewide. She met and marched with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, among others.

City of Flint

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will face a city councilman in November’s recall election.

Scott Kincaid had tried to run both for mayor and for re-election to the city council seat he's held for 32 years. But a judge ruled he couldn’t, and ordered Kincaid to make a choice.

Scott Kincaid announced his choice to run for mayor at a UAW Labor Day rally.

Tax Foreclosures in Detroit
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Wayne County will put more than 6,000 properties up for auction online starting this week.

Tuesday kicks off the first round of bidding in the annual sale for the county’s property tax-foreclosed properties. It’s become something of a real estate bonanza in recent years, as the county has foreclosed on tens of thousands of homes since 2009 — and by one count, as many as one in four properties in the entire city of Detroit.

USFWS

Backers of a ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan are approaching a milestone.

Organizers say hundreds of petition circulators have been busy during the Labor Day holiday weekend collecting signatures.

Josh Hovey is the spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol. He expects their petition drive will collect its quarter-millionth signature this week.

It’s been 15 years since Michigan lawmakers reversed a Governor’s veto but it could happen again this week when the Legislature returns to Lansing from its summer recess.

Some members of the GOP are getting a little fed up with their fellow Republican Governor Rick Snyder and they want to try and muster the two-thirds majority needed to override his veto of a bill they passed earlier this year. It was a pretty innocuous piece of legislation that accelerated tax breaks for car buyers who trade in their vehicles.

Enbridge Energy's Line 5 oil and liquid natural gas pipelines run under Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan this week ordered Enbridge Energy to restore a protective coating on parts of its Line 5 pipes that run beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge reported to the state that small portions of enamel coating were accidentally removed in two places.

A state commission is facing pressure to shut down Line 5 completely. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether Enbridge's disclosure will turn up the heat.

Stateside 9.1.2017

Sep 1, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear LaMarr Monson describe what it feels like to be free 21 years after a wrongful murder conviction. We also learn about an app in development to help teachers fight their own implicit bias in the classroom. And, after disappearing from Michigan, peregrine falcons are making a comeback and nesting on skyscrapers across the state.

The Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It’s Michigan Labor Day tradition for tens of thousands of people to walk the five-mile span of the Mackinac Bridge linking the state’s upper and lower peninsulas.

It’s a four-lane bridge. Usually officials shut down two lanes for the walk and keep the other two open for traffic. That’s not this case this year.

Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation Kirk Steudle says the decision to completely shut-down the Mackinac Bridge during the walk this year was in direct response to safety concerns.

Orange construction barrels
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 


Gov. Rick Snyder signed a $1.2 billion road funding package in 2015 that called for increased vehicle registration fees and gas taxes, many of which went into effect this year.

In an interview with Stateside this week, Michigan Department of Transportation director Kirk Steudle said the state was “still trying to manage the deterioration,” but the overall quality of roads was yet to rise, despite the fresh tax revenue. But he noted the general fund component of the 2015 funding package has yet to kick in.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor has dropped her legal challenge to a recall petition intent on ousting her from office.

Mayor Karen Weaver’s attorney signed on to a judge’s order dismissing the mayor’s suit.

Weaver had tried to raise questions about the validity of hundreds of signatures on the recall petition.   In court this week, a handwriting expert questioned whether some people who signed the petition also filled in the date. 

dictionary turned to the word tax
Alan Cleaver / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

President Trump's tax speech in Missouri Wednesday gave him a chance to throw down the gauntlet to Congress:

Congressman Paul Mitchell, a Republican from Michigan's 10th district, wrote an op-ed piece in the Detroit News this week spelling out his thoughts on why tax reform matters.

One of Mitchell's main arguments for reform is the benefit of simplicity — that the House Republican tax reform plan will make the system, and filing taxes, simpler. 

Michigan's oddly-shaped 14th congressional district, currently represented by Brenda Lawrence, is one example of political gerrymandering.
Public Domain

There's ballot petition currently circulating that seeks to end gerrymandering in Michigan.

The Board of State Canvassers approved the format of the petition on August 17, and the group spearheading the campaign, Voters Not Politicians, has been collecting signatures since then.

Anita Belle, left, and Jennifer Kurland are seeking the Michigan Green Party's nomination for Governor and U.S. Senator.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Two members of the Michigan Green Party have announced they’re running for statewide office in 2018.

Anita Belle is seeking the Green Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate. She would challenge incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow.

Belle is an elections-integrity and reparations activist from Detroit. She says the government needs to make majority-black cities like Detroit and Flint “whole” for their water crises.

Mental health administrators Nicole Lawson, Christina Nicholas, and Jillian Trumbell demonstrate at the Michigan Capitol
Rick Pluta / MPRN

More than 300 thousand people in Michigan depend on public mental health care, and the state is wrestling with the question of who should oversee and administer those services.

Michigan is debating whether mental health funding will be taken away from community mental health groups and transferred instead to private insurers in Michigan’s Medicaid Health plans.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow expects hurricane relief will be a top agenda item when Congress returns to work after Labor Day.

Michigan’s senior senator says the country needs to “come together” to help people in Texas and Louisiana suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

flooded street in Midland
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As people in Texas and Louisiana struggle to deal with the impact of Harvey, the storm is also generating new conversations about how to deal with flooding in other parts of the country.

Mid-Michigan is still recovering from floods in late June, and many Michigan cities have had problems in recent years.

City of Flint

A Flint city councilman faces a decision: run for re-election in November or run in a potential mayoral recall election.

Scott Kincaid easily won the August primary in Flint’s 9th ward.  A few days later, he filed to run in a mayoral recall against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

However, a judge ruled Tuesday that Kincaid can not run in both elections in November. Kincaid has until next Tuesday to decide which seat he’ll pursue.

man reading newspaper with fake news written on it
Mike MacKenzie / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

A conservative news website is busy pumping out stories on political candidates. The stories quickly take off on social media as people share them with friends and family.

But a closer look at the website, called Conservative Intel LLC of Grand Rapids, reveals it isn't a news operation at all.

Amer Zhar in front of brick wall
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

Dearborn likes to boast that is has the highest proportion of Arab Americans in the country. But according to the U.S. Census, about 89 percent of the city’s approximately 100,000 people are white.

That’s because according to the United States’ government, Arab Americans are white.

“It’s a real mis-identifier [sic], you know,” said Michigan-based comedian and writer Amer Zahr “It’s one thing to not be identified. It’s worse to be misidentified because we’re not white in any way that ‘white’ means.”

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Problems continue to plague Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Karen Spranger’s office.

Spranger was unable to present a proposed budget to Macomb County Commissioners as scheduled on Monday.

The County Executive’s office say that’s because she submitted an incomplete proposal weeks late.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

With pressure on them building, Flint city council members will sit down with their attorney Tuesday afternoon to discuss their options in their fight against tying the city to a 30-year water deal.

The state and Flint’s mayor support the deal with the Great Lakes Water Authority, under which the city would continue to get its drinking water from southeast Michigan.

CRAIG STANLEY / NBC NEWS

As white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, some carried shields and a flag with a slightly modified Red Wings logo. Evidence suggests they were members a Michigan-based group called the Detroit Right Wings.

To explore the history of right wing extremism in Michigan, Stateside spoke with JoEllen Vinyard, a professor of history at Eastern Michigan University and the author of Right in Michigan's Grassroots: From the KKK to the Michigan Militia.

The Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills
Corey Seeman / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

After nearly 30 years, the Palace of Auburn Hills has announced that it will soon close its doors for good. Palace officials this week announced that Bob Seger's September 23rd concert will be the venue's final event. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about how businesses and the city of Auburn Hills itself will fare without revenue from the former home of the Detroit Pistons.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Witnesses in court today agreed there are issues with signatures on a recall petition against Flint mayor Karen Weaver. 

However, it remains unclear whether that will be enough to stop November’s recall election.

Handwriting expert Robert Kullman testified to numerous instances where one person filled in petition information for two signatures.  

Prison bars
flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A former prison food services worker says he was fired because he would not serve rotten potatoes to inmates. Steve Pine worked at the Kinross Correctional Facility in the Upper Peninsula until this past weekend. He was employed by Trinity Services Group, a private contractor that provides food services to state prisons.

Pine tells The Detroit Free Press that he refused an order to have inmates sort through the potatoes. He was afraid that would lead a disturbance like one that occurred at the prison last September. 

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

It used to be property taxes skyrocketed when home values went up. Sometimes tax bills increased by double digit percentages in a single year.

Voters fixed that with the passage of Proposal A in 1994. The constitutional amendment capped how much property taxes could go up in a year at five percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The man heading Flint’s lead pipe replacement program has a new contract.

The council voted 9-0 on a reconsideration vote during a special meeting Thursday. The council deadlocked 4-4 August 14 on extending a personal services contract for Mike McDaniel.

McDaniel has been the program director of the Fast Start program that has replaced more than 3,000 services lines during the past year. However, he’s been working without a contract since April.    

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge wants to hear testimony from a handwriting expert in the next few days before deciding if a recall election against Flint’s mayor can take place in November.

Mayor Karen Weaver’s attorney launched a final legal attack on the recall petition this week, arguing before a judge that the county clerk’s office certified the petition despite numerous forgeries.

Kid Rock / YouTube

There seems to be growing public doubt about political polls ever since Donald Trump unexpectedly won the presidency, when many polls had him trailing Hillary Clinton.

Harry Enten, a senior political writer at FiveThirtyEight, recently looked at a poll released by Delphi Analytica that showed, in a hypothetical U.S. Senate race, sitting Senator Debbie Stabenow trailing Michigan native Kid Rock, although Rock hasn’t officially announced his candidacy.

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